Romance Advice for New Parents - Make Date Night a Priority
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Late nights and dirty diapers don't exactly encourage romance, and Dr. Bryce Kaye, relationship expert and author of "The Marriage First-Aid Kit," warns that having a baby triggers actual neurological responses that can make being affectionate toward your partner difficult.
"When a new baby comes on the scene, most people don't plan to manage their emotional states with each other," Kaye tells ParentDish. "They think that merely co-parenting next to each other will get them by. Wrong. It's usually not long before the fighting begins to increase."
But don't panic: Kaye says it is possible to have a romantic, loving relationship even with a newborn in the house. He suggests scheduling a babysitter on a regular basis, leaving the house and avoiding hot-button topics when you do manage to escape for a few baby-free hours.
Date night won't work if couples bring their baggage to the table, so avoid talking about your jobs, problems, your relationship and -- you guessed it -- the kid. And whatever you do, do not talk about the in-laws.
That may seem like it doesn't leave much to chat about, but Kaye has some suggestions for romantic banter.
"How about fantasies, wonders, hopes, dreams, fond memories and the meaning you put on various experiences in your life," he says.
Kaye also doesn't want the terminology to distract couples from getting creative. He recommends calling it "connection time" or "closeness time," or some other term that gets right to the point.
"'Date night' implies that you should be focusing on some activity instead of focusing on each other's thoughts and feelings," he counsels. "Remember, you don't have much time. Make your time count and use high octane."
Moms and dads might feel reluctant -- and guilty -- about leaving their brand-new babies with a babysitter, but there are solutions to that dilemma. Be inventive, like sharing a bubble bath when the baby naps. Do something that gives you some psychological distance from the tasks of child-rearing, even if you are in the house.
As for the guilt, Kaye wants you to get over it.
"As infants grow older, they also need to learn that they can self-soothe in the parent's absence," he says. "They actually benefit from not having their parents constantly tethered to them."
Related: Michelle Obama's Date Night Secret